Eugene, OR – On December 15, Eugene Police Street Crimes Unit assisted EPD Park Resource officers with a person suspected of dealing drugs at Washington Jefferson Park. There were concerns that if a person established an illegal narcotics trade inside the park, it could create an avenue for people with substance use issues to be re-victimized, and also make the larger neighborhood less safe.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the park has served as a temporary camp for the unhoused to shelter in place and receive health and safety basic services with City support, including regular law enforcement presence for the protection of occupants and neighbors.
The suspect, Zachariah J R Smith, age 37, of Westfir, had been arrested at Washington Jefferson park five times since November 11, 2021 (the first arrest was for possession and delivery of heroin). On December 10, EPD Park Resource officers seized a bag they suspected had illegal narcotics inside. With the assistance of EPD SCU, Park Resource officers applied for and were granted a search warrant to view the contents of the locked container. After viewing the contents of the locked container on December 15, Park Resource officers established probable cause to arrest Smith for commercial offense Possession of Controlled Substance/Delivery of Controlled Substance Heroin and Methamphetamine. There was also suspected Fentanyl powder inside, which was submitted for further testing.
On December 15, EPD SCU officers observed short-stay foot traffic to Zachariah’s tent and conducted a traffic stop after two people left his tent. After the traffic stop was completed, with further evidence seized, EPD SCU moved into the park and arrested Smith without incident. An EPD SCU officer applied for and was granted a search warrant for Smith’s tent. That search revealed more evidence of narcotics dealing, such as scales, packaging materials, pay/owe sheets, needles, capped and uncapped, cash and more narcotics, specifically heroin and methamphetamine.
EPD SCU is conducting follow-up to return stolen items to rightful owners. Case #21-19440
(information directly from E.P.D.)